When you hire an expert in any area, you don’t just get their expertise. Usually, you also get their passion and love for what they do—or, in this case, where they live. Since I had never been to Italy, I was fascinated. I wanted to learn and see as much as I could.
We arranged for private tour guides in Florence, Verona, and Venice. They were wonderful, witty, and highly educated, with PhDs in history. All of them absolutely loved and deeply cared about their city and its rich history.
Simona was our guide in Florence. She had just finished her PhD in Renaissance history, and since the Renaissance period started there, here are a few excerpts that we taped that were really interesting:
“When you read Plato, it’s like having in front of you what you see in Florence. The love, the passion he had for symmetry. Symmetry is another word for harmony, like music or mathematical calculations. It’s all based in symmetry. In a way, it’s just like the way you should conduct your life. What you do is measured by everyone around you, and you should always behave like that.”
The second floor of this type of palace was the family residence. It was called the Noble Floor:
The courtyard was always inner and hidden, very far from the social image of yourself. The top floor was open like a lodge for hanging clothes. Technical rooms for maids and servants and the kitchens were also on this floor.
“If you look at this courtyard—the arches, circles, and semi-circles—you can see that they are perfectly symmetrical.”
“It’s not only architecture. Everything you do should be well proportioned. It has to be measured, and you have to behave in a proper way, in a good way, so people can see your beauty.”
Photo by Maria Killam
The courtyard was the preparation area for “coming out” to society. It was an area where you would work out and practice the discipline of symmetry, harmony, and balance, so you could show that face when you went out in public. Not for vanity’s sake, but so you could be the best YOU for others.
When the Renaissance philosophers looked at early Greek and Roman statues, they were scandalized by the fact that they were so nude, so naked; however, the Greeks and Romans believed that through showing all of yourself, even the parts you’d normally cover, you were saying, “I offer you the best of my soul.”
Throughout the centuries, there has been more than one moment when Frescoes were covered. There were times in history when artists were hired to work around the clock painting fig leaves on genitals because the nakedness was seen as improper.
I found this interesting, and it’s one of the reasons I wrote my last post. I never want anyone to meet me and think, Wow, she’s so fake and nothing like her blog. I don’t think any other statement made about me would bother me more than that. I’m just as flawed as anyone else, even though so much of Blogland is beautiful every day.
With social networking now, the new buzzword is authenticity. But there’s a fine line between sharing authentically and oversharing. Some of my readers thought that I was oversharing because there are some personalities who could never put their lives out there for the world to critique. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We should all find what we’re really good at, and then do that, whatever it is.
And the same fine line can be drawn about pretending you’re being authentic, when really all you’re doing is constantly broadcasting how great your brand is or your company is.
Socrates once asked Plato what virtue is:
“The soul is made of three parts: our natural desires, our will, which lets us resist our natural desires, and our reason, which tells us when to resist our natural desires and when to obey them. For instance, when you are hungry, and you want to eat, that’s a natural desire. When these three parts of your soul are balanced, you will lead a virtuous life.
“But if the three parts of your soul are out of balance, that leads to badness. If your natural desires are too strong, you will be unable to control your urges.”